Frames and Reframing, Focus on Solutions NOT Problems

Monish SubherwalDesign Mindset and Philosophy, Videos1 Comment

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In this episode, I talk about frames and how they focus any situation. When we change frames, we can change the meaning of a situation, our emotions, beliefs, behaviors ,and action!

Enjoy! 🙂


Show Notes

Welcome to the Empowerment School! Where we’re making empowerment a daily habit. Get schooled in empowerment tools. This is the show where I teach YOU, the art and science of empowerment, step by step.

Hello hello.  My name is Monish Subherwal. And this is THE video podcast that is dedicated to empowered living.  My goal is help you build confidence and self esteem and be more assertive by teaching you 1 empowering concept that you can use immediately.

In this episode I’m going to talk about:

Focus and specifically something called frames. A lot of people focus on what they don’t want — but its really important to focus on what you do want. So in this episode, I’m going to show you how to shift your focus and give you some good analogies so you understand why this is KEY.

So let’s get started.

Frames (of reference)

Frames are the focus/general direction/cognitive context around a situation.  A frame implies constraints and border.

Here is a story that illustrates the power of frames very well (from Robert Dilt’s Sleight of Mouth).

A very old Chinese Taoist story describes a farmer in a poor country village. His neighbors considered him very well-to-do. He owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, but the farmer simply said “Maybe.”


A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune, but the farmer just said “Maybe.”


The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses. The horse threw him and the son broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said “Maybe.”
The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.


When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer replied “Maybe.”

Frames help:

  • “Label” experiences
  • Direct attention – An event that was once painful can be put into another frame – problems to learnings.
  • Focus conversation
  • Determine scope – the information and interactions that are possible in the frame.

Frames change the meanings of events

  • THE MEANING changes based on YOUR FRAME
  • Makes possible…
  • Emotions, beliefs, behaviors, ACTIONS…

Frames affects your interpretation of a situation and your response.

Problem Frame vs. Outcome Frame

The Problem Frame is when people focus on the problem!  This happens a lot.  People start asking:

  • what is wrong?
  • why is it a problem?
  • what caused it?
  • whose fault is it?

These questions typically don’t provide relief – but can be helpful sometimes.  Whats more effective, we find is the Outcome Frame:

The Outcome Frame in contrast, is a focus on solutions.  A conversation that is framed in the outcome frame, would ask:

  • What do you want?
  • How can you get it?
  • What resources are available to you?

In Review

  • A frame is the focus/direction/cognitive context around a situation. Implies constraints and border.
  • If you change the frame, you can change the meaning (emotions, behavior, beliefs, actions)
  • Frames “label” experiences, directs attention, focuses conversation, determines scope.
  • Shifting from the problem frame to the outcome frame is key.

Your Homework

Pick an area of your life you are struggling with. Look at that area from the outcome frame:

  • What do you want?
  • How can you get it?
  • What resources are available to you?


Thanks…And please leave comments below! 

Visit for more Empowering Videos

“There are no ‘problems’, only learning lessons.”


your Empowerment teacher and coach, Monish

One Comment on “Frames and Reframing, Focus on Solutions NOT Problems”

  1. Thx for the video clip. I enjoyed it. While I agree that empowerment is very important, I suggest that we not lose sight of accountability that needs to ensue empowerment. We can be empowered to do certain things, but we need to be held accountable for our actions. Perhaps the notion of accountability is implied in the video, but it was not obvious to me.

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